Have you always wanted to be a doctor?

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Somewhere in the back of your mind, have you always dreamed of being a doctor? If yes, then you may find it helpful to know there are routes into medicine for people from a wide range of backgrounds and there is the option of graduate entry also. If you wish to study medicine as a graduate, it is really important to be aware that this pathway is challenging and involves significant personal and financial commitment. Elliot Mason a 3rd year graduate medical student summarises the key considerations succinctly and his blog post is worth a read.

If you are sure medicine is your calling then here are the key things you need to know:

  1. You are not limited to applying as a graduate (4-year accelerated route),  you can also apply to study medicine at undergraduate, non-accelerated medical courses. These are generally five years long. The BMA guide on how to be a doctor provides lots of useful information.
  2. The majority of graduate entry programmes require students to have their first degree in a science subject, but some medical schools also consider applicants with a first degree in other subjects. If your science knowledge isn't adequate, you may be required to take a foundation course (also referred to as pre-clinical courses) or sit the relevant examinations to ensure you have the academic capability to successfully complete the course.
  3. Access into medicine courses are designed to encourage a more diverse range of students into the medical profession. As well as mature students, they support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, students from ethnic and cultural minorities, and disabled students.
  4. In addition to your application (via UCAS), you will be required to undertake an admission test which can vary by institution. Tests currently used are: the BMAT, the GAMSAT, and the UKCAT . When researching potential course providers check which admission test they require as the tests have differing costs and registration dates (just to add to the confusion).  The score you receive from your test plays a pivotal role in application success so this element is not to be underestimated.
  5. Applications to Graduate Entry to Medicine are made through UCAS, in the autumn term of your final year. You will also be required to submit a personal statement outlining your interest and commitment to medicine.

Missed the deadline?
That's OK, harness your final year to gain relevant work experience, prepare for and take the admission tests and to work on your personal statement. The careers service is here to help, you may find it helpful to book a meeting with one of our expert careers advisers.

One last thought...
A career in healthcare is diverse and there are lots of other ways you can work with patients. We are all living longer, with complex and multiple conditions. To meet this demand there are new occupations emerging in the sector such as Physicians Associate. There is a growing demand across all healthcare professions, do have a look at the wide range of careers available to you.

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